Free fireworks to cue start of historic regatta

January 21, 2022 BY

Left to right: Geelong deputy mayor Trent Sullivan, Festival of Sails chair Roger Bennett and Extasea skipper Paul Buckholz at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club. Photo: PAM HUTCHINSON

THE Festival of Sails regatta is preparing to kick proceedings off with a bang, hosting a fireworks display free to the public at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.

The City of Greater Geelong and the Royal Geelong Yacht Club have joined together to provide the fireworks over Corio Bay, held at 9:30pm on Saturday, January 22 to mark the start of the five-day regatta, set to run until Wednesday, January 26.

Geelong deputy mayor Trent Sullivan said the council was funding the free fireworks as it ramps up its support for major events across the Greater Geelong region.

“We hope families come to the waterfront because it’s going to be a cracker night,” Cr Sullivan said.

“The festival will be a little different this year because of COVID-19 restrictions but we’re hoping people make the most of the sailing, spectacular fireworks and free live music on offer in venues across Central Geelong.”

The Royal Geelong Yacht Club normally holds a free firework display on Australia Day, but the display has been brought forward this year, with the support of the city, to boost the appeal of the historic sailing event and to help families enjoy free entertainment on a Saturday night.

“The regatta has a proud tradition dating back to 1844 and it really puts the spotlight on Geelong and our beautiful waterfront,” Cr Sullivan added.

“The race normally attracts around 300 yachts and 4,500 sailing competitors to Geelong over the Australia Day holiday period. The fireworks and the entertainment program will provide a much-needed boost for Geelong businesses and artists.”


Festival of Sails chair Roger Bennett welcomed the fireworks’ return as the event looks to create a celebratory feel throughout the city.

This year’s regatta entertainment will include an initiative called ‘Gigs by Festival of Sails’ with more than 40 bands performing at venues throughout the Geelong CBD over the event’s days.

“We’re really delighted to see the annual fireworks back on the program for all the community to enjoy,” Mr Bennett said.

“As a major event which would normally attract thousands of people, COVID-19 is continually forcing us to rethink our approach and innovate to allow us to deliver a safe -albeit different – regatta for everyone.

“While the conditions of 2022 have meant we can’t deliver our traditional Waterfront Festival this year, we’re hoping our Gigs program will give our local live music, hospitality and events industry a bit of a boost with free entertainment for the community.”

Organisers will continue to enforce COVID-safe guidelines for regatta, meanwhile, pet owners are asked to ensure the security and safety of their animals during the fireworks display.

More information can be found by heading to festivalofsails.com.au.